Analytical Paper on American Identity

Using Margot Adler’s Heretic’s Heart: A Journey through Spirit and Revolution and TWO additional primary sources you select from the collection provided at, write a 3-4 page double-spaced paper with 1-inch margins in 12 pt. font that answers the following questions:


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At the heart of American identity—and indeed, even Western philosophy in general—is a struggle between the interests of the individual and those of the collective (one vs. many). The Cold War exposed this struggle in its fear of communism or any form of collectivism, but in the midst of the Cold War era, vital Sixties movements that centered the interests of entire marginalized communities celebrated the power of unity and group action. At the same time, Margot ponders throughout Heretic’s Heart about how she can have an impact as an individual. In your opinion, was the status of the individual or the group/community/collective essential to the spirit of the Sixties? How is the tension between the two expressed by Margot Adler in her memoir of the Sixties (Heretic’s Heart)? You may choose either side, or you may choose to go the “either and/or both” route where you argue that both individualism and the collective spirit were formative forces in the Sixties.

Your essay must include introduction, body, and conclusion paragraphs and you must formulate a thesis statement. Your thesis statement must make an argument. Ideally, that argument will pose an answer to the question asked in the essay prompt, and the rest of the paper will provide support and evidence for that thesis. This paper should be analytical, and not descriptive. In other words, you should not be summarizing the texts under consideration, but using them to answer the essay prompt.

A successful paper will weave analysis of the sources with historical observations. Every generalization/claim in the paper will be supported by evidence. The paper will have clear topic sentences, transitions that connect body paragraphs, an engaging introduction and conclusion, and a thesis statement that provides an argument responding to the question posed in the essay prompt.

You may use whatever citation style you prefer, but your paper must include in-text citations or footnotes AND a works cited/bibliography page.

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